Department for Education
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Boost for children with special educational needs

Boost for children with special educational needs

DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES News Release (2007/0193) issued by The Government News Network on 17 October 2007

Schools Minister Andrew Adonis today launched a new programme to maximise the potential of children with special educational needs and support schools and early years settings in managing their needs.

The Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) is a new £2million project of confidence-raising training for teachers, support staff and early years practitioners. Developed by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in partnership with children's communication charity I CAN and Dyslexia Action, it will improve the skills of teachers by advising them on how to develop teaching strategies for children with special educational needs (SEN) and providing guidance on dealing with common classroom challenges.

Schools Minister, Andrew Adonis, said:

"Improving the life chances of children with special educational needs and disabilities is an absolute priority for us. A key part of that is equipping teachers with the skills and confidence to help children with a range of special educational needs.

"We have the best trained workforce ever and many teachers are already offering children with SEN high levels of teaching and support. This new training, developed in partnership with I CAN and Dyslexia Action, builds on this by offering teachers every day opportunities to continue developing their skills in the classroom so that all children with special needs can access the help they need."

The training materials will initially focus on speech, language and communication needs and dyslexia. Over the next four years training on autistic spectrum disorders, behavioural issues and moderate learning difficulties will be added.

IDP is the latest step in the Government's work to ensure teachers are getting the support they need throughout their careers for dealing with children with SEN and disabilities. The Training Development Agency is currently piloting specialist material for trainee teachers focused on giving them a good skills base for working with children with SEN as part of their undergraduate courses.

Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN Chief Executive said:

"Communication is the foundation life skill. Children with good communication skills learn, make friends and achieve. I CAN welcomes the launch of the IDP and is pleased to be working collaboratively with the government sharing our expertise in children's speech, language and communication development and disability. It is absolutely essential that the children's workforce is skilled in how to support children's communication needs. This is an excellent first step but there is still a great deal of work to do."

Shirley Cramer, Dyslexia Action Chief Executive said:

"We welcome the IDP initiative and are extremely pleased to have worked with the Government and I CAN to create and craft this programme of training for teachers.

"Dyslexia affects two to three children in every classroom and the link between dyslexia and disadvantage is proven - undiagnosed dyslexic people are 'overrepresented' in groups excluded from school, in prison and in long-term unemployment. By upgrading teacher ability through projects like IDP we can begin to improve the life chances of our children and sever this link."

The Inclusion Development Programme forms a key part of the Government's overall strategy on addressing the needs of children with special educational needs and disability, and was developed following a recommendation from the Education and Skills Select Committee report on Special Educational Needs (SEN).

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The £2million funding for the Inclusion Development Project is for 2007/08.

2. Information on the materials, including an interactive DVD and web based resources to support leadership and individual teacher/practitioner professional development, will be available from the National Strategies from December.

3. A major review into the provision of services for children and young people with speech, language and communications needs was announced by the Prime Minister in September. Led by John Bercow MP, it will advise the Government on how the very best provision can be mirrored in all areas, so every young person up to 19-years-old with speech and language difficulties gets support as early as possible. It will also advise on how local services can work closer together so children get the support they need, when they need it. For more details go to http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/bercowreview/index.shtml

4. I CAN is a leading children's communication charity. Communication is the essential 21st century life skill - the foundation on which children learn, achieve and make friends. I CAN works to develop speech, language and communication skills for all children, with a particular focus on children who find communication hard. For more information, go to http://www.ican.org.uk

5. Dyslexia Action is a national charity and the UK's leading provider of educational services and support for people with dyslexia and literacy difficulties. It specialises in assessments, teaching and training. It also develops and distributes teaching materials and undertakes research. For more information please visit: http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk

6. The Communication Trust, launched by Andrew Adonis in May 2007, is a 'hub' of communication and SEN expertise, with a solutions-oriented approach to provision, services, training and resources. DCSF SEN division has provided £900,000 to fund the creation of the trust. The Communication Trust has been founded by Afasic, BT Better World Campaign, CDC (Council for Disabled Children) and is hosted by children's communication charity I CAN. For more information visit http://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk

7. No To Failure Project (NTF) was launched by Andrew Adonis and Kate Griggs in May 2007. DCSF is providing initial funding to start the project - up to £900K over three financial years, matched against funding raised elsewhere. The project has started specialist training for teachers and specialist dyslexia screening of children in some schools in Southwark, where specialist tuition is then being provided to those identified as having dyslexia. Specialist training for teachers has started in Cornwall and Calderdale, where schools are being identified to join the project. For more information visit http://www.xtraordinarypeople.com

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